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History

History

McCORMICK SQUARE

In the Center of Chicago’s History

Chicago’s rich and diverse history has brought together people from across the globe, in turn creating a unifying and world-class culture. Chicago is a place millions call home. A place McCormick Square calls home. McCormick Square sits along Chicago’s lakefront. Home to the North America’s largest convention center – McCormick Place – and a short distance from South Loop, Museum Campus, Motor Row, Bronzeville, Prairie Avenue District and Chinatown, McCormick Square’s diversity highlights an influential and compelling history.

The Evolution of North America’s Largest Convention Center

McCormick Place’s history dates back to 1960 when it opened its doors to international conventions, first of which was the Modern Living Home and Flower Show. Since then, McCormick Place has expanded including the North, South, and West buildings as well as the lakeside center. Hyatt Regency McCormick Place opened in 1998. McCormick Square will unveil the Wintrust Arena and Marriott Marquis Hotel in 2017.

From John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, McCormick Place has hosted world leaders and visionaries. In 2012, McCormick Place hosted the NATO Summit, which was the largest gathering of world leaders in the United States since the formation of the United Nations after World War II.

Diverse cultural neighborhoods such as Bronzeville and Prairie Avenue District have housed some of the most respected and well-known citizens in Chicago’s history from Louis Armstrong to Marshall Field. With its ability to host the world’s most important events and providing the city with jobs and revenue, there is no question McCormick Square has played a pivotal role in Chicago’s history.

Today, McCormick Square continues to grow and improve with upcoming additions such as the Wintrust Arena and Marriott Marquis Hotel. Between 2016 and 2018, McCormick Square is projected to have an economic impact of $4.5 billion and provide nearly 3,000 jobs in the area. McCormick Square isn’t alone; it’s surrounded by terrific neighbors all of which have exciting developments underway.

Part of a Robust Local History

Heart of Industrial Chicago

Just west of the McCormick Square, Motor Row lines Michigan Avenue with beautiful buildings dating back to the early 1900’s. In the early 20th century, Motor Row became home to more than 116 different makes of automobiles. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the area became home to Chicago’s world famous Chess Records. Today you can visit Motor Row for the new restaurants and local breweries, as well as Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation and Museum.

Historic Neighborhoods, Cultural Centers

Neighboring McCormick Square, Chicago’s South Loop has provided tourists and citizens of the city with a dynamic mix of attractions and activities from its Museum Campus to Grant Park. Beginning in 1921 when the Field Museum moved to the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium have since joined and left adults and children in awe. Adjacent to the Museum Campus, Grant Park has provided open green space, works of art and entertainment for this admired city since 1835. (Learn more about South Loop here)

Head south of McCormick Square and explore the historically significant area of Bronzeville where a large number of African American men, women and children settled after leaving the devastating oppression in the American south. Pulitzer Prize recipient Gwendolyn Brooks, civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, and legendary musician Louis Armstrong were in part responsible for the area’s development and subsequent cultural crusade, which included advances in the civil rights movement as well as music of many types: jazz, blues and gospel music. Visit today to see the renowned sculpture, “Monument to the Great Northern Migration,” by Alison Saar among many other notable art pieces. (Learn more about Bronzeville here)

Chinatown represents the success of the Chinese people in America where streets are lined with restaurants and boutique shops, whose buildings are unique to the rich and the historic culture. Today, Chinatown is home to 65,000 Chinese Americans. Upon completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, of which Chinese Americans played a pivotal role, they faced severe discrimination from people and governments across the nation. Many realized they could call Chicago home when they found very little prejudice. Chinatown is a cultural identity and heritage marker for Chinese Americans. It has allowed them to continue their rich history of traditions in America’s melting pot of culture. (Learn more about Chinatown here)

The Prairie Avenue District is considered to be one of Chicago’s most unique and historic neighborhoods. Home to Chicago’s most wealthy citizens in the late 19th century, Prairie Avenue became lined with magnificent mansions. Marshall Field and George Pullman were two of the more well known to live in the district. Visit today to get an inside look on the Glessner House Museum and the Clarke House Museum. (Learn more about the Glessner House Museum here and the Clarke House Museum here)

McCormick Square has provided citizens and tourists alike with entertainment, education and economic growth. It provides us a snapshot into the history of Chicago and allows us to understand the diverse cultures that helped build this great city. From McCormick Place to Bronzeville, McCormick Square is committed to serving and bettering its community as a good neighbor.

Fun Fact

The Rooftop Garden is also home to 20,000 honey bees in three hives that produce 50 pounds of honey a year and 2,000 Red Wiggler worms that create 200 pounds of vericompost annually.

We are no longer just a building, we are a community

WE ARE McCORMICK SQUARE

Fun Fact

McCormick Place was the location of President Obama’s 2012 Presidential election night party. President Obama addressed of over 12,000 in McCormick Place after he was declared the winner.
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